Charges Allege Approximately $30 Million Fraudulently Billed to Medicare
NASHVILLE – A 14-count felony Information was filed today charging Tache “Gabe” Georgescu, 45, and Natalia Georgescu, 38, both of Laguna Niguel, California, owner and operator of now defunct Lowry Medical Supply, Inc. (Lowry Medical) in Nashville, Tennessee, with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and paying illegal kickbacks, announced US. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee.
According to the charging document, in November 2017, the Georgescus purchased Lowry Medical, a durable medical equipment (DME). In 2018, the Georgescus purchased three other DME companies located in Florida, but which were operated interchangeably with Nashville-based Lowry Medical, including Medpros Associates LLC; Alliance DME LLC; and AYMS LLC., all of which are also now defunct. These Georgescu-controlled DME companies received nearly all their revenue from billing Medicare for orthotic braces.
The charging document alleges the Georgescus’ payment of illegal kickbacks and bribes in exchange for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries by medical professionals, working with fraudulent telemedicine companies, for back, shoulder, wrist, and knee braces that are medically unnecessary. Some of the charges concern luring Medicare beneficiaries, who were elderly or suffering from dementia, into a criminal scheme where the Georgescus’ mailed orthotic braces that these beneficiaries never asked for, never wanted, and never needed. They then billed Medicare for the cost of the orthotic braces.
In the summer of 2018, a Medicare accrediting agency advised the Georgescus that Lowry Medical was violating Medicare rules in many ways, including using a lead generation entity to buy doctors’ orders, contacting beneficiaries without their consent, sending orthotic braces to beneficiaries which those beneficiaries did not want or need, and refusing to allow the beneficiaries to return the orthotic braces. Despite these warnings, the Georgescus did not change their practices.
In just 17 months, the Georgescus paid so-called marketing companies approximately $7.8 million in illegal kickbacks and bribes in exchange for those marketing companies providing the Georgescus with ready to bill doctors’ orders for orthotic braces for Medicare beneficiaries. In turn, the Georgescus billed Medicare approximately $30 million for orthotic brace order during this same period.
The Information also contains a forfeiture allegation in which the United States seeks to recover a money judgment in the amount of $4,172,553, which represents the value of proceeds obtained from the illegal conduct between August 2018 through April 2019.
If convicted, the defendants face up to ten years in prison.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services-Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas J. Jaworski and Christopher J. Suedekum are prosecuting the case.
The charges are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.